What is the Difference Between Vulnerable Sector Checks and Standard Criminal Background Checks?

November 22 2023

Criminal background checks, judicial matters checks, and vulnerable sector checks are three distinct checks used for employee screening purposes. They’re like different levels of investigation.

You can think of the police vulnerable sector check (VSC) as the third check level and the most in-depth. A vulnerable sector check digs into local police records, criminal convictions, and the history of pardoned sex offenders to provide accurate results.

Industries and Professions Requiring Vulnerable Sector Checks (VSC)

The vulnerable sector check is distinct from standard background checks. This is specifically for individuals seeking roles involving authority or trust concerning vulnerable individuals. This check is necessary because these individuals are at higher risk due to their age, situation, or reliance on others for care. Certain sectors that require vulnerable sector checks include:

  • Childcare and Education: Professionals in schools, daycare, and educational settings, such as teachers, daycare workers, and sports coaches, require vulnerable sector checks to safeguard children.
  • Healthcare: Medical caregivers dealing with the elderly or individuals with disabilities, like doctors and nurses in elderly care, must undergo these checks to ensure patients’ well-being.
  • Social Services: Individuals working in social services to assist vulnerable populations, including roles like taxi drivers, are required to undergo these checks to ensure their suitability for the position.

What is Different About a Vulnerable Sector Check?

Vulnerable sector checks can include all of the information in a criminal record, a judicial matters check, and additional details. Standard criminal background checks provide important insights into an individual’s previous criminal history, while vulnerable sector checks offer an extra layer of scrutiny. This is crucial for evaluating the potential risks associated with a candidate’s interaction or proximity to vulnerable individuals.

As discussed above, a vulnerable sector check compiles a range of offence-related information, including convictions, ongoing warrants, charges, and court orders. The data is sourced from local police records management systems, the Canadian Police Information Portal (CPIC) and the pardoned sex offender database for sexual offences. The vulnerable sector will only show records relevant to the safety of vulnerable individuals.

Obtaining Vulnerable Sector Checks vs. Standard Checks

A vulnerable sector check is crucial when hiring people for roles involving vulnerable individuals. A vulnerable sector check can be used for employment, unpaid student placements, and volunteer work. This check helps ensure the safety of those in vulnerable situations.

You can get a standard background check from any provider. A vulnerable sector check can be obtained through a registered agency under the Police Reference Check Program. This can be done in person or online at varying costs. Once submitted, the report results may take up to 15 days to arrive.


HR professionals play a crucial role in protecting vulnerable individuals. Although Triton doesn’t provide vulnerable sector checks, we understand their significance for HR across industries. This training blog aims to offer valuable insights and empower your team to make informed choices for the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals.